Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Palliatives for Militarism, Part II

Continuing the discussion of what Andrew Bracevich prescribes for lessening militarism in the United States. 
  1.  See
  2.        yesterday . . .
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  6. Devise an appropriate guage for determining the level of US defense spending--he suggests an amount equal to the amount spent by the next nine countries combined. It's still a vast sum, but it would save the country hundreds of billions.
  7. Enhance alternative instruments of statecraft--An area of gross deficiency for the US. The country needs a highly competent agency to coordinate and manage US diplomacy. This all means spending more and improving the work of the State Department.
  8. Revive the moribund concept of citizen-soldier--The all volunteer force has spawned an ethos "more akin to that of the French Foreign Legion." It's an imperial army. The army needs deep roots among the people of the republic. Ideal relationship of armed forces and democratic society is a symbiotic one."In terms of race, region, religion,a nd ethnicity, but above all in terms of class, America's armed services should--as they once did, at least in a rough way--mirror society. This does not mean return to conscription, but rather devising mechanisms to spur the willingness to serve in privileged America.
  9. Reexamine the role of the National Guard and reserve components--Obviously. The original purpose was to provide an armed militia for community self-defense, not another manpower pool for the regular army and navy.
  10. Reconcile the American military profession to American society--The officer corps should be rooted in society. I.e., the way values defining the military ethic are formed and inculcated have to be completely revised.
All this was explained in a lot greater detail in the book, but this should give you a taste. Everything he says makes sense, but I fear this country is just too far gone to ever take radical steps like he suggests. And everybody knows the old adage about "living by the sword."
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